21 November 2012

“Death by Blue Water Navy” Distracts from China’s Real Military Focus

Gabriel B. Collins and Andrew S. Erickson, “‘Death by Blue Water Navy’ Distracts from China’s Real Military Focus,” The Diplomat, 21 November 2012.

(Editor’s Note: Please see “China’s Real Blue Water Navy” and Greg Autry’s response.)

Greg Autry’s passionate response to our recent piece on “China’s Real Blue Water Navy” is somewhat ironic, as he has missed our point. As our substantial body of work on the matter in multiple venues including The Diplomat amply demonstrates, we view China’s naval and military development with the utmost seriousness. Our work is read regularly by military and civilian policymakers, as well as the general public, because we research issues in depth and offer a fact-based, measured account based on what the evidence suggests. We value our readers’ trust and strive to keep our work independent of external ideological influences that could bias it.

Our key objective in writing “China’s Real Blue Water Navy” was to advance an explanation that we believe—based on substantial and objective research—better reflects the true nature of the challenge China’s rising naval power poses for the U.S. and its allies in the Asia-Pacific region than does Autry and Peter Navarro’s book “Death by China: Confronting the Dragon—A Global Call to Action.” The reality is that to properly formulate a strategy to respond to emerging events—and ideally to shape them proactively—one must understand issues for what they really are. Catchy book titles and spicy diatribes usually don’t inform the public or support effective policy. Rather, they offer the illusion of clarity in a way that can mislead—dangerously so, in this case, given the issues at stake. … … …